Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Planning bill must be withdrawn says LGNSW President

LGNSW has led an online gathering of all NSW local governments, who have come together to express their concerns about the future of community infrastructure and councils’ financial sustainability if the NSW Government proceeds with planned changes to infrastructure contribution rules from developers.

LGNSW President, Linda Scott said the Government’s Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Infrastructure Contributions) Bill 2021, introduced into NSW Parliament with the NSW Budget, was deeply flawed and threatened to reduce critical contributions paid by developers towards the costs of vital community infrastructure as communities grew and more housing was developed.

“COVID has highlighted the importance of community access to public parks, footpaths and vital community infrastructure that local governments provide,” Cr Scott said.

“The State Government’s dangerous legislation threatens to take us back to the bad old days of suburbs with no drainage, and communities with no parks, by allowing developers off the hook from providing essential infrastructure and services to ensure liveable communities for our future.

“As well as funding vital infrastructure like roads, roundabouts, drainage and footpaths, those funds help pay the bill for the new parks, pools, playgrounds, childcare centres, libraries, and more, to meet the expectations of our communities today.”

She said the proposed rules included a move to “siphon off infrastructure contribution funds into the State’s coffers”.

“Councils will be forced to cancel infrastructure needed to support increased demands brought about by development or to raise rates, impacting those who can least afford it.”

“This Government legislation unfairly punishes NSW communities by diverting funds councils need to serve their communities to the State Government’s reserves, while cutting the contributions made by profit-taking developers.”

Cr Scott said the Bill was rejected by a recent Upper House Parliamentary Inquiry, which recommended the Government withdraw it and consult with councils before making changes.

“While the Minister has acknowledged the Committee’s recommendation, there is no guarantee that the Bill will be withdrawn from Parliament or substantially re-written to address councils’ concerns,” she said.

“The Bill must be withdrawn and substantially re-written.

“LGNSW and local governments are working together to fight any attempt reduce infrastructure and services to our communities.”

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